For a Polished Look-The Vintage Moon Manicure

My latest issue of InStyle magazine is touting the “moon” manicure as a hot fashion trend for fall.  Also, referred to as a “reverse French” manicure, it originally became popular with movie actresses in the 1920s.

Black and white half moon manicure is very polished look!

Black and white half moon manicure is a very polished look!

In the 1930s women  often painted just the center of the nail, leaving the moon and tip bare.  Filling in the whole nail with color was considered an extreme look. Nice girls didn’t do it!  A whitening pencil was used on the back of the nail tip as well, like this one  from Sally’s Beauty Supply.

1930s manicure.

1930s manicure.

Of course, Dita Von Teese, the queen of vintage glamour, has been sporting these pretty retro nails for quite some time.

Dita and her signature vintage nails.

Dita and her signature vintage nails.

And here’s a photo of Joan Blondell someone posted at the Fedora Lounge. Those classy dames at the Lounge have a whole thread dedicated to vintage manicures!

Joan Blondell and her marvelous manicure.

Joan Blondell and her marvelous manicure.

According to this very informative site on vintage makeup, common nail polish colors in the 30’s included red, pink, deep coral, lilac, emerald green, cornflower blue,  gray, gold silver and even black!

There are two ways to re-create this vintage moon manicure.  Leave the half moon,  or moon and  tip,  completely bare, or paint a lighter shade on the whole nail, let it dry, then apply the darker shade over it.

According to what I’ve read on several blogs, the easiest and cheapest way to get the perfect moon shape is to mask the area with those little round reinforcement circles for notebook paper that you can buy at the office supply store.  Just cut them in half , stick on the bottom of your nail, then apply the top color. When almost dry, peel off and voila, perfect moon manicure.

I think the look is very chic and the possibilities are endless for yummy color combinations.  What do you think? Would you do your nails like this?

red, deep corals, lilac, emerald green, mother of pearl gray, pale pink, cornflower blue, mauve, gold or silver

By | 2014-02-17T09:09:28-04:00 September 13th, 2009|Beauty|6 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Avatar
    linda cher February 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    After 3 attempts of going to nail shops I went to my nail lady and I got the perfect round nail and Moon manicure thanks to Mr.Internet

  2. Avatar
    Wink October 9, 2009 at 1:45 am

    I have tried that reinforcement circle trick time and again, with no luck. They ARE the perfect shape, but they don’t want to stick to my nails, and keep peeling up. I hope to find a trick that works, because I love the look!

  3. Avatar
    French Manicure Nails September 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I really don’t like the black tips at all. Joan’s manicure is really nice though… the contrast between the red and white is interesting, and it looks much more sophisticated than an all red nail.

  4. Avatar
    Anna September 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Nice website and designs, I like your style very much.

  5. Theresa
    Theresa September 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Orly is supposed to come out with a polish this month as part of their fall matte couture collection, called “Blue Suede Shoes” that’s very close to a cornflower.

  6. Avatar
    gabriel September 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    How pretty! I’d love to see an example of that cornflower blue nail polish in action!

Comments are closed.